Council on Aging reopens Eastern Center with festive dedication

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Some 65 years ago in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed a question that now rings through generations.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

For over 48 years, the Chatham County Council on Aging has answered this call by offering a range of programs and services geared towards the goal of keeping older adults living independently and in their own homes for as long as possible.

But even with a mission that has not changed in roughly a half century, the steady drumbeat of time can place growing demands on spaces and facilities.

Thus, last Friday, the Eastern Chatham Senior Center in Pittsboro wrapped up its first full week in its expanded space with a program, catered dinner, and musical entertainment from Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Gregg Gelb. The new space opened for the first time to clients with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, Aug. 1.

Council on Aging Director Ashlyn Martin, invoking King’s query, credited the agency’s board of directors, building donors and the support of Chatham County officials in making the addition a reality. In addition to a new multipurpose room that can be partitioned into different sections, the new space provides for a fitness facility with windows, new restrooms, office space for Council on Aging personnel and storage areas.

Attendees were treated to a catered dinner from Allen & Son Barbecue as both Martin and Johnny Shaw, president of the Council on Aging Board of Directors, announced that the addition would be named the “Dennis W. Streets Eastern Center Addition,” in honor of the retired director.

Streets joined the Council in 2014 and remained executive director through his retirement in February 2022. In that time, the Council achieved several milestones, including participation in the Home Depot Foundation’s Helping Homebound Heroes initiative to assist veterans with home modification and repair needs — one of just three agencies in the nation to do so.

Both senior centers in Chatham County — including the Western Chatham Senior Center in Siler City — have maintained designations as “Centers of Excellence” by the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. Chatham County is just one of 15 counties in North Carolina to have more than one center designated as a Center of Excellence.

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